I guess I will start with my trip report for 'other California' destinations first since it seems there will be little competition! LOL We are a family of 4: myself, DH, DD15 and DS10. Destinations: Hollywood and Huntington Beach (for this portion) Hotels: Hollywood Renaissance Hotel and Hyatt Huntington Beach Resort & Spa Airport: SNA (AKA Orange County or John Wayne) Rental Car: Dodge Magnum via Thrifty Restaurants: California Pizza Kitchen, El Compradre, Johnny Rocket's Attractions: Walk of Fame, Disney's El Capitan Theatre, Grauman's Chinese Theatre, Kodak Theatre, Hollywood Entertainment Museum, Guinness Museum and Hollywood Wax Museum, drive along Sunset Blvd and Mulholland Dr Technically, we arrived on the 9th and headed straight to DL but that is for another trip report on another board apparently! I was shocked to return home and find all these new categories for the DL board! It's growing by leaps and bounds!! Anyway, after checking out of the GCH and renting a car at the airport (DH took a bus back to the airport to get a car since we hadn't needed one during our 6 days at DL), we drove to Walmart on Euclid for supplies. The new DL/SoCal Passporter helped us out with its location. We had a boy with severe motion sickness which had become obvious on the flight over! We purchased Dramamine which helped immensely, both in the car and on the plane ride home. We also picked up some snacks, beer and water that had been missing during our stay at GCH. Continuing on to the hotel in Hollywood, we followed the directions in our Trip Tik given to us by AAA. Arriving about 1pm, we went to check in and noticed a fairly large crowd of people gathered in the lobby with signs for Jay Leno. We were not sure if they were waiting for him or what. At first, I thought they were all checking in and got a little nervous at how long it would take us to get a room! Thankfully there was no one actually at the front desk so I went right up and started the process. I had previously requested a city view with seeing the Hollywood sign in mind so I asked about that and the guy wrote down a number, 1500 something and started checking around in his computer then came up with 1819 and stated it was the best room in the house! I thanked him profusely and wondered if the fact that we were coming from FL had any influence on him since he told me he was flying out the next day for Orlando. I like to think that our little exchange garnered me 'the best room in the house'! LOL Upon arriving in our room, we were pleasantly surprised to see the sign right outside our window! The room was immaculate with big comfy bedspreads and the squishiest pillows. We had requested a fridge so they brought that up a little later and we soon stocked it with beer and water. It was a good size portable, not like the beat up, tiny square one with the missing leg we got at GCH. We quickly assessed that we were all ravenous so we examined the map of the mall they gave us and spotted a California Pizza Kitchen! How much more Californian can you get than that? Actually, we have one here in our local mall but I have never eaten there so I wanted to try it and thought it appropriate that it would actually be in CA! My husband thought I was nuts and rolled his eyes a bit over our choice (DD was with me on this) but relented so we headed down the elevator to the 3rd floor or what we thought was the 3rd floor. There's actually an "M" floor where the meeting rooms are and an entrance to the mall. We came out on the 3rd floor of the mall and going up to the 4th floor to check out the other restaurants (just in case!) we ended up down on the 2nd floor where the CPK was. While waiting for a table we got a few great pics of the sign in the background as the patio kind of juts out here, perfect for that kodak moment. We were quickly seated in the corner window nearest the sign and I knew it must be a uh, well...a sign! We began with Avocado Club Egg Rolls then DD had the White Pizza, DS surprised us all by ordering the Hawaiian pizza from the kids menu, I got the Pepperoni Pomodoro on thin crust and DH had Thai Curry Noodles with Shrimp along with a Beverly Hills Iced Tea followed by a standard Long Island Iced Tea. We enjoyed our meals immensely! In fact due to late hour, about 3pm by this time and the filling pizzas, we didn't need to eat again today! Of course, DH went out and picked up some Chinese at a nearby donut shop which he claimed was very good to eat later that night while we watched the AFI's Most Inspiring Moments. We really didn't get out much at night during this vacation. I blame it on the time change. We were in bed so early the first few nights and never seemed to adjust till the vacation was almost over. After eating we went to see when the next showing of Cars would be at the El Capitan Theatre across the street. We had promised DS that we would see it at DTD since it had just come out the day we arrived but we never seemed to have time to do it. We kept putting him off so I really felt we had to at least check it out this time. As it turned out a show was just about to start so we bought tickets, at $12 a pop ($11 for a child) and went in to the theatre. It is really a beautiful theatre and there was an organ player up on stage playing a lot of Disney theme songs. We found a seat up front since the middle section was roped off for the premium members who pay something like $24 to be escorted in and brought to the front of the concession line for popcorn, candy and a drink then taken to these special seats. We were happy where we were and could see and hear the movie just fine and there was a cool little preshow where they had a pit crew work on a race car on stage then they tossed out posters to the audience which of course landed squarely in this especially segregated section. So I guess you get what you pay for. The movie was really funny if you haven't seen it yet and make sure you stay through the credits. We stopped off for ice cream at the Cold Stone Creamery in the mall on our way back up to our room. We also got a chance to spot a few of the stars on the Walk of Fame as we travelled back and forth across the street at the crosswalks. The next morning I got up early (that was no problem with the time change!), showered and dressed before anyone else was even up and got breakfast downstairs in the mall. I first headed to this Green Earth Cafe (3rd floor) because we had seen the night before they had smoothies and my son is on a smoothie craze of late but they were closed that early. I continued further down to the Nestle TollHouse Cafe (2nd floor) expecting them to be closed since they only sold cookies right? but I was delighted to learn they had two muffins left (a cranberry which is my favorite and a blueberry, DH's fave - another sign!) and of course coffee so I brought all that back up to the room, by myself, and had to wake them up! The kids munched on Gotarts we had picked up at Walmart. We decided to explore more of the Walk of Fame, Grauman's Chinese Theatre (which we had seen a bit of the night before) and some museums. We also walked up to the Kodak Theatre where the red carpet would have been during the Oscars! They have all the Best Pictures/years listed on the columns. As we came down the escalator from the mall right into the forecourt at Grauman's we heard some announcer say something about Tom Cruise, Will Smith and Salma Hayak having just been there (see, those lazyheads made us miss the stars!) and to come book a tour of the movie stars homes or something like that but we just figured it was some sort of ploy and continued on our way. There is a Visitor's Center in the mall so we got some info on the museums we were interested in and headed down the street to the Hollywood Entertainment Museum. I had read online before I left that this was closing at the end of June forever so I thought it was important to see it while we had the chance but we wouldn't have missed much. The best thing about it was the Cheers set and that isn't saying much. They had moved a lot of stuff already and it looked kinda bare in places. Other things weren't working like the lights for the timeline and the miniature model of Hollywood which were two things I really wanted to see. The rest of it was costumes, props and info on how movies are made (the foley artist, sound machine etc). Honestly, I'd rather go to MGM Studios in Orlando which we frequently do. I learned more or at least pretty much the same stuff at MGM but it was neat being in the real Hollywood and seeing the really old film editing machines was kinda cool. We may have made the wrong choice on that museum over the Hollywood History Museum but the guy at the Visitor's Center had said it was mostly costumes and the kids groaned over the 'history' aspect of it. With that under our belt we continued on the Walk of Fame all the way to LaBrea and saw the beginnning of it or what I assume is the beginning since there's a big statue of sorts and a large star that says Hollywood Walk of Fame and all the biggies like Elvis and the Beatles were nearby. We decided to take a drive around Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Laurel Canyon. These are places we see and hear about in movies but wanted to experience the real thing. Unfortunately we got back to our room just as the maid was starting to clean up so we only grabbed a few things we thought we'd need then headed out without a bathroom stop! My DS decided he had to go after entering BH where there was horrible traffic and no place to stop at all. My DH got the brilliant idea of taking a shorcut up some road which led nowhere but to a Country Club. Of course, acting like the out of town hicks that we are, he managed to use the facilities in the basement or something. I cowered in the car, supremely embarassed!! That was our adventure in BH, one for the kids to tell their kids! DH had seen some route described in one of our books (LA for Dummies, I think?) for driving down Sunset Blvd all the way to the coast or something so we picked that up somewhere along the way and noticed all the outdated landmarks it pointed to while struggling in bumper to bumper traffic. We finally bailed onto the 405, which was not much better, intending to head to the Getty Museum but never made it. DH had the lightbulb moment of driving along Mulholland down through Laurel Canyon on our way back to the hotel. Now let me tell you people that I am no mountain girl. I live in the FL flatlands and I barely survived driving through the Smokies in TN! Here we are on this windy, scary road, waaaay up high and I almost lost it! My kids thought it was great (thanks to Dramamine) and commented that they now understood why Mulholland Madness at DCA is so named! Safe back at the hotel, I forgot to mention that we had lunch at El Compradre's Mexican Restaurant on Sunset before embarking on our harrowing ordeal at the recommendation of a hotel employee who shall remain nameless. LOL No, the food was very good but it was really dark and musty in there so we couldn't really see what we were actually eating! We had the basics: tacos, enchiladas, chicken quesadilla, taquitos, rice and beans along with some Coronas. Anyway, my son was bent on going to the standard Ripley/Guinness type Museums we almost always visit on vacations but I refused to give into Ripley's this time as we had just been to the one in Orlando in March. So we got a two for one deal at the Wax Museum for that and the Guinness. We also needed to see the rest of the WoF so we walked all the way to Vine St but not up or down it and missed the one star DH was looking for: Jimmy Stewart. It was quite a long walk, further than to LaBrea the other way and a much seedier, scarier area. The Wax museum was under construction of some sort so the Star Wars section was closed much DD's dismay but it had a nice little gift shop out front where we got a souvenier map and magnet of Hollywood. The Guinness was interesting but typical of that type of museum if you like that kind of thing. By now it was time to eat again so we ended up at Johnny Rockets in the mall late at night (or maybe that was just late to me on east coast time?). Again we have one in our local mall but it's good standard fare when you're hungry. DH had a chili dog, DD a grilled cheese, DS chicken fingers and a BLT for me with shakes all around. We dropped into bed that night since it was probably the latest we had stayed up all week! DH was in charge of breakfast this morning and he got donuts from the famed donut/Chinese shop across the street. They were actually very good. The lemon donut I had was huge, overfilled and fresh, dare I say better than Dunkin's? We had to check out this morning and DH wanted to make a stop at the LaBrea Tarpits on our way to Huntington Beach. I can't believe I've only covered parts of 3 days activities and it is this long! I will continue the HB portion at a later time as I'm exhausted from detailing this much of our journey. Whatever will I do when it comes time to write about 6 days at DL?? Actually, it was much faster to read than to write! Hope you all enjoy this!